Monthly Archives: June 2012
The search for the perfect suitcase began, strangely, with the discovery of the perfect suitcase. See the classy blue and beige numbers below? Globetrotter is the brand, and they make classic suitcases like no-one else in the industry. But unless you’ve got a spare $2000 to spend on luggage you’ll probably want to know what other options are out there. So, I warmed up my clicking finger and went on an internet search that, while not exhaustive, has hopefully unearthed a few gems (all under $600) that you can add to your luggage short-list.
The Classic Suitcase: Globetrotter 33″ Extra Deep Suitcase with Wheels.
Like many cities, Seoul is divided in geography and perhaps (a little) in attitude, by a river. The Han snakes through the heart of the city, and is integral to it’s identity. In vastly over-simplified terms, Gangbuk (north) is the older, slightly unruly sibling of shiny new upstart Gangnam (south). Naturally, south-side is home to the glamorous Park Hyatt, our destination for the day. We had come to try the hotel’s signature Bingsu (a shaved ice milk desert) at The Lounge restaurant, and to take a tour of this impressive boutique-style hotel, renowned for it’s pared-back, elegant style.
Above: Striking entrance to conference area. Below: Details from the Presidential Suite.
The Bingsu was good, but the hotel is exceptional. The tone is set when, following an ear-popping ride to the 24th floor lobby, the doors slide open to reveal incredible wraparound city views – an unexpected treat and reason to visit in itself. Designed by Japanese architecture firm Super Potato in 2005, and positioned high above a major thoroughfare, all guest-rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows capturing those buzzing city views. To balance this outlook, the style of the interiors is super simple and, if I may say so, even ‘zen’.
This is a hotel that gets the details right; the decor is modern and streamlined while subtly referencing a more traditional Korean style. The (amazing!) Presidential Suite features beautifully carved wooden screens and carefully selected Korean antiques sitting alongside otherwise modern pieces. Plus, it has the world’s most dramatic bathtub which is basically giant, hollowed out boulder! Moving downstairs, the darkly ambient ‘Timber House’ bar, besides boasting an impressive whiskey menu, serves almost as an informal museum. The walls, which at first glance appear merely textural, soon reveal artfully arranged collections of ceramics, antiquated farming equipment and even preserved pumpkins. It’s a clever way to combine history and design without being overly precious about it. Add in a crazy sky-high pool and two excellent restaurants and you’ve got yourself a fancy-pants hotel that somehow manages to function as a relaxing retreat, even with those views serving as a constant reminder that you literally have one of the world’s coolest cities at your feet.
Above: View from lobby.
Above: The Timber House bar.
Above: Pool on the 24th floor.
Above and below: The Presidential Suite.
Below: The Lounge restaurant / Pat Bingsu.
The Park Hyatt is certainly a high-end hotel, although standard rooms are reasonably priced. If you want to splurge for a couple of nights this is a good option, and if not you can always drop in for some Bingsu and watch the world go by.
All photographs by Sean Fennessy, except the final pair courtesy Park Hyatt hotel.
There’s a whole lot of cabin love going around the web right now (Cabin Porn, anyone?) but this is my pick of the bunch – the William Brown Cabin just out of New York (Via Designtripper, photography by Matthew Hranek). Add in the Epperson Mountineering pack, a Filson Thermos and Carrier, and some Vinchi Trekking Boots, and you’ll be set for the weekend.
While preparing this post I realised that ‘Old Europe’ is somewhat under-represented here on Skip Town, but it’s certainly not on purpose. Sometimes I think it’s because this kind of beauty can be too obvious; the picture-perfect streets and spires, when photographed, can easily lurch into generic ‘postcard’ territory – oh the horror!
So today it’s nice to feature a series of unabashedly ‘lovely’ photographs of Florence. Sivan Askayo, a photo journalist based in New York, has clearly fallen for the city’s charms and created a portrait of Florence as most of us would imagine it to be – grand, faded and romantic.
I was one week in Paris at the end of March, working on an editorial assignment for a design and lifestyle magazine. I was writing and shooting an article about the design scene in Paris, including some of my favorite places and shops in this city. Once the assignment was finished, I traveled to Tel Aviv for almost a month; It was partially a holiday visiting friends and family and partially work, shooting materials for future articles.
There are so many. I’m trying to have at least one profound experience in every place I travel. I find the great experiences in the little things; running up the hills of Florence early in the morning and watching the city from Piazzale Michaelangelo; walking in Gracia Neighborhood in Barcelona and finding a great laundry shot for my ‘Intimacy Under the Wires’ collection; tasting some great food in a small local market in Sapa, Vietnam; or having some early morning shots in Paris.
I prefer traveling light but it also depends on destination; if I travel to a place where I can rent gear, than I sometimes prefer doing so, but if I travel to places such as East Asia than I’m taking my gear with me. Which is quite light anyway; DSLR Nikon D90 and 4 different lenses; 50mm/1.4, 35mm/1.8, 35-70mm/2.8 and 18-105mm/3.5. I also carry 2 external hard drives; one for work and one for back up. I try to avoid packing my tripod, to be honest, and if I can borrow one from a colleague I would gladly do so.
I never plan. I find planning quite as a limitation of your thoughts. Even if I plan something or have an idea, I always find it different on location. So better wait and see what happens in front of me. It never fails.
I work with Lightroom and I play a little bit with contrast, blacks and colors. I try to give every destination a different ‘feeling’. The Florence series came out very much like a painting and I think it matches the feel and the essence of this city. It also very depends on the mood I’m in and what I experience from the place. I just got back from Tel Aviv and noticed the retro/vintage atmosphere in the streets, the stores and some products so I’ve decided to edit my photos of Tel Aviv in a vintage look and feel.
I always download my photos to the hard drive at the end of the day or every two days. I like to keep the memory cards ‘clean and fresh’ as much as possible for the next day. Yes, I do use some of my images to my portfolio. I pick few and then debating which ones will fit the portfolio. I haven’t landed any commercial work yet! but I’m planning on doing so quite soon.
That’s a tough question; I would love to go to Cuba, Brazil, Shanghai. I’m getting a lot of emails from people around the world who have seen my project ’Intimacy under the Wires’ and they keep telling me I should visit this and this place and have some great laundry shots. I’m very tempted to go to India and Napoli for that, but also need to find a different angle than the expected images.